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Saltwater Inc.

  • 733 N Street, Anchorage, AK
  • https://www.saltwaterinc.com/

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Alaska Fisheries Observer


min experience

salary range

$4.3k - $6.7k / month

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

Fishery observers work on fishing vessels and onshore at processing plants collecting catch data and biological samples, and documenting interactions with protected species.

Working as a fishery observer is a unique job that takes place in some of the most remote, beautiful and pristine places on earth. It’s a job that provides opportunities to gain unparalleled field experience, and to contribute to something big – supporting the future health of some of the world’s greatest fisheries.

But being a fishery observer is not for everyone. It is an extremely challenging job.

Observing is a physically and psychologically demanding job that can include exposure to cold, wet weather, cramped quarters, and rough seas. Phone and internet access is typically not available, or only very limited, making it difficult to communicate with family or friends while at sea.

The rhythm of fishing often requires long, odd work hours with shifts ranging from 5 to 15 hours a day. Observers typically share a bunkroom with up to 6 crew members, and rarely get a full, uninterrupted night of sleep. Seasickness is common, and vessels are rarely smoke free. On top of that, shipboard life can also be stressful since the goals, priorities and backgrounds of the crew and the observer can be very different.

The most important trait Saltwater looks for in an observer is maturity, which includes common sense, patience, thinking before acting, and the ability to listen and understand people with different viewpoints. Possessing a flexible attitude and adaptability are critical, and our most successful observers are hardworking, tactful, self-confident, and really good communicators.

Minimum Requirements

General Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in one of the natural sciences.
  • 30 credit hours in applied biology.
  • Minimum of one college level math and one statistics course.
  • College course using dichotomous (taxonomic) keys.
  • Background check and/or Criminal Disclosure Statement.
  • Recent Physical exam.
  • No direct financial interest in the fisheries.
  • Successful completion of appropriate training course.
  • Physically able to carry out observer duties.
  • Not prone to chronic or debilitating seasickness.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Previous experience as an observer
  • Previous experience in scientific data collection and data entry beyond college.
  • Previous ocean experience aboard boats.
  • Valid and current passport.


Training is conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) monthly from February through August. At the time of publication the first 2 weeks of training will be conducted remotely and the 3rd week is hands-on in Seattle, WA. Shortly after successfully completing training observers will be deployed to Alaska for a 90 day contract.

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